It was enough to make a blogger in mom's basement spit out his Cheetos in surprise. On today's Morning Joe income redistributionist and global climate kvetcher Prof. Jeffrey Sachs praised the UK Conservatives for creating jobs via an austerity budget. In a second surprise, Sachs criticized fellow lefty traveler Paul Krugman.
Said Sachs of the Conservatives: "they governed well . . . they got the economy going again. They got it stabilized, they got the debt crisis Britain was facing under control and they created a lot of jobs and they got rewarded last night." And a bit later, the normally reserved Sachs permitted himself a petite smile when Joe Scarborough asked if Paul Krugman, who had criticized the Conservatives' austerity budget, thinks he "knows what is better for the British people than the British people?"
Richard Haass, head of the Council on Foreign Relations, sounded a similar note, saying that Krugman was "the other big loser last night."
Enjoy this suprising moment--a liberal acknowledging that conservative budget policies work to create jobs--and that Paul Krugman got it wrong.
JEFFREY SACHS: You could say [the Conservatives] governed well because Cameron and Osborne, prime minister and chancellor, came in in a deep crisis in 2010, and they got the economy going again. They got it stabilized, they got the debt crisis that Britain was facing under control and they created a lot of jobs and they got rewarded last night.
. . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: And Jeffrey I'm surprised, you're talking about how the Conservatives actually did pretty well, they governed pretty well. Why do you say that?
SACHS: Because they brought about a good economic recovery.
SCARBOROUGH: How did they do that?
SACHS: They did that by very moderate, steady course. When they came in, they said we are financially unstable, we have to get the deficits down. We have to govern with predictability, we have to govern in the middle. And year by year, they kept the course of reducing the deficits and that started the economy going again.
SCARBOROUGH: People like Paul Krugman would be harshly critical of, quote, austerity in Britain.
SACHS: Well, just a month ago I said to Paul in a column, why are you complaining so much, they have a strong recovery that pretty much tracks the US and they have done it the way they said they would, which is getting the deficit under control and getting growth going.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you saying Paul Krugman thinks he knows what's better for the British people than the British people? This is surprising.
SACHS: We-l-l-l [smiling], I think the British people gave a message yesterday. And it's not all the negative against this one or against this one. It's also the fact that they trust the current government for their economic management. Because it's a middle of the road, predictable, sensible economic policy.
RICHARD HAASS: First of all, he was the other big loser last night, Mr. Krugman. This actually is a big ideological victory for those who said there is a place for austerity.